Psalm 85:13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
We are saved by grace through faith, and not by works, (Ephesians 2:8-9) but there are certainly things we can and should do to get in line with God and receive all He has for us. As I dreamed last week, and spoke on Sunday, upright people hear God far more often, accurately, and pleasantly than those whose hearts are devious. If we want God to move in our lives, righteousness is certainly the way to prepare for that. The Japanese has a very interesting twist on the second half of this verse. It says, “[Righteousness] uses God’s footprints as a road.” Actually, “following God” is one very good definition of righteousness! As I talked about Sunday, we can never be “good enough” on our own, but God has amazingly made us to be His righteousness in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:21) However, walking in that requires our conscious choice. Distractions and temptations abound, and as the song, Shepherd of my Soul says, “I have made the choice to listen for Your voice.” That is the way of righteousness, that both follows Him and prepares the way for Him to act.
This is a lesson that has been worked into me over the years. I am all too prone to figure things out in my own head and then go off to do my own thing, rather than seek God in all humility. Like my father before me, I have earnestly prayed for revival in Japan. As verse 6 says, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Looking at Japan today, “revival” might not seem to be appropriate for a nation that seems never to have been following God, but 450 years ago there were 80,000 Christians in Omura Fief alone, and Christianity was spreading rapidly until the Edo government stepped in. God has given this church the vision of Omura again being the foremost Christian city in the nation. That would really be revival! For us to receive that, we need to walk in the righteousness that He has prepared for us, even though at this point we don’t know all that means. I need to be sure my heart is upright, just as I preached on Sunday, so that I will be able to hear and follow the Lord’s guidance and so participate in what He is doing, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this clear Word. Thank You also for the recent diagnosis of a bilateral hernia in my lower abdomen. I ask for Your perfect will do be done about the surgery, not only in timing but in all the details. That certainly serves as a reminder of my own frailty, and that I can do nothing on my own. Help me not draw back from anything You want to do through me, so that all of Your plans may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!